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4 Nat'l L.U. Delhi Stud. L.J. 53 (2017)
Sovereignty, Development and International Economic Law: Some Insights from WTO Dispute Settlement

handle is hein.journals/nludslj4 and id is 59 raw text is: 
















   SOVEREIGNTY, DEVELOPMENT AND INTERNATIONAL

   ECONOMIC LAW: SOME INSIGHTS FROM WTO DISPUTE

                                SETTLEMENT

                                                                        Sannoy  Das*

        In this paper the author examines the relationship between developing nations
        and the WTO  dispute settlement framework, focusing on the interpretative
        methods of and epistemic protocols employed by WTO adjudicatory bodies.
        The imperialist history of international law in general, and of international
        economic law in particular has meant that the sovereignty of developing
        nations has always been a negotiable commodity, subject to the interests of
        western capital. The author argues that this imperialist strain has cast its
        long shadow on the prevailing interpretative methods of the WTO dispute
        settlement bodies. By leaning in favour of a strict textualist approach, while
        failing to factor 'development'as a teleological aim of the international trade
        order, the WTO mechanism  has prioritised vague notions of certainty over
        substantive justice in international trade. Aside from the inherent suitability
        of such a textualist approach to the furtherance of entrenched neo-liberal
        ideals, the adoption of formalistic reasoning by WTO dispute settlement
        bodies narrows the ability of States to claim broad regulatory justifications
        for their policy choices based on their development interests. Thus, despite
        the rhetoric of 'development'being at the forefront of the political discourse
        of international trade in the 21st century, 'development'as such is excluded
        from the process of WTO dispute settlement. In this way, it is argued that the
        international trade order retains, as any imperialist system ofa governance,
        a sense of liberal politics while acting through deeply conservative law.


*   Assistant Professor, Jindal Global Law School; sdasgjgu.edu.in. I am grateful for the research
    assistance that Ms. Vinitika Vij has rendered. I am indebted to the participants at the academic sym-
    posium during the WTO@20 Conference hosted by the Harvard Law School (27-29 April 2016)
    for their comments; to Prof. Mark Wu; to Dr. Rakesh Ankit for having read and commented on this
    draft, particularly on the historical claims; and, to Prof. Krithika Ashok for having offered detailed
    comments on several rounds of drafts.

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